Is your dog safe?

How do you know if your dog is warm in the winter weather? This would be one of those times that it would be helpful if your dog could talk to you and say, “Dad, I’m cold. Can you get me a coat?” Unfortunately, that is not the case so we, as their caregivers, need to stay ahead of the cold for them.

Keeping your dog warm and safe in the winter is one of those situations where ‘better safe than sorry’ is perfectly applicable. A dog exposed to the elements for too long can experience frost bite, hypothermia, shivering, and even death. Here are the most important things to look out for this winter.

1- If you have a puppy, elderly dog, or small dog consider them extra sensitive to the cold. These dogs need extra protection in freezing temperatures. Bundle them up with a dog coat and dog booties.

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2- If your dog has any sickness or medical condition such as kidney disease, endocrine problems, heart arrhythmia’s, diabetes, etc. then they will not be able to handle the cold as well. These dogs also need a dog coat and dog booties.

3- In sub zero temperatures the sick, young, or old should not be out for more than 10-15 minutes. If your dog begins to shiver or whine then bring them back in the house.

4- Obviously, a short coated dog, such as a Bulldog, will not do as well in the cold as a long coated dog, such as a German Shepherd. Keep short coated dogs outside for less time or spread their time outside into smaller, more frequent trips. However, even long haired dogs can and do get cold! Unless you have a Northern Spitz type dog that is built for the harsh conditions of the Arctic, your dog should not be in subzero temperatures for extended periods of time.

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5- Only the Northern Spitz type dogs are actually equipped to handle living in freezing temperatures. Even so, always provide some form of insulated shelter with hay or wood shavings on the ground. They should have a dry shelter that protects them from the wind and allows their body heat to warm up the shelter.

6- Provide fresh water and food. Unless you want to march outside every 20 minutes in a blizzard to keep their water from freezing, a heated water bowl is highly recommended. Provide extra calories in the winter time by adding 10-20% of their normal food. Dogs living outside need extra food and water to regulate the body temperature against the harsh elements outside.

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7- Is your dog exposed to ice melt? Ice melt is dangerous for a dog in two ways. If your dog walks on ice melt it can burn and create an irritation on the pads of their feet. Put dog booties on your dog to prevent any painful effects of ice melt. When your dog comes in and licks the ice of their feet this also creates a hazardous risk. Ingesting ice melt is the second way it causes harm. (Click Here to grab the highest rated dog booties on Amazon ). This occurs by either licking their paws or licking puddles or snow that has ice melt in it. Be extra cautious while on walks to ensure that they do not ingest ice melt in puddles. The side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, or in severe cases death.

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Don’t forget to play with your dog in the snow! Most dogs love the snow! So, keep safe and warm, but get out with your dog for some fun exercise!

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